NAB to FCC: Spectrum Auction Petition Opponents Off Base

Group says challenge of 39-month timetable is well within bounds

The National Association of Broadcasters told the FCC that the opposition from wireless carriers to NAB's petition to reconsider parts of its post-auction TV station repacking framework amounts to "depriving viewers and listeners of broadcast television and radio service for the benefit of a single nationwide wireless carrier that already has substantial spectrum holdings in other bands."

That came in NAB's response to the requests by T-Mobile, CTIA and the Competitive Carriers Association that the FCC deny that request.

On March 17, NAB told the FCC that its "flawed" framework and 39-month timeline for repacking TV stations after the incentive auction had to be rethought, saying to not do so will hurt broadcasters and their viewers. 

In response, T-Mobile, which was the top bidder in the incentive auction, paying $8 billion for broadcast spectrum it wants to get access to as swiftly as possible, filed in opposition to reconsideration, saying NAB's petition was "an impermissible collateral attack on the 39-month repacking timeline disguised as a petition for reconsideration of the Media Bureau’s Post-Incentive Auction Transition Scheduling Plan."

NAB said Monday that since the 39-month deadline remains subject to a pending petition for reconsideration, "NAB, or any stakeholder for that matter, remains free to comment on that pending petition and advocate for or against its grant." What’s more, it said, "T-Mobile, CCA and CTIA know this, because they have each continued to argue that the Commission should not adjust the 39-month deadline."

NAB also said there were procedural challenges from the wireless parties that were either off topic or off target. "In short, the opposing parties largely rely on misplaced procedural arguments that reflect a refusal to engage with the substance of NAB’s petition. The Commission should disregard these arguments, and grant NAB’s requests for reconsideration."